Route 1, also known as the Pacific Coast Highway

Santa Barbara certainly has plenty to offer, but while you’re here you might be interested in checking out some other exciting places in the area. With Los Angeles just a couple hours south, the Santa Ynez mountains behind the city, and the Channel Islands off the coast, there are plenty of options for added fun on your SB vacation.

Here are our 5 favorite excursions to consider before or after staying with Hotel Milo:

Santa Ynez

Santa Ynez has become a popular destination for everyone who visits Santa Barbara, and at just a 40-minute drive from Hotel Milo, it should definitely be included in your travel plans. Famous for the many vineyards and tasting rooms, the valley is the perfect quick trip for those looking to spend an afternoon drinking local wines and enjoying the stunning views. Visitors can also find art galleries, trails for horseback riding and hot air balloon rides!

Channel Islands

If you’re interested in a more adventurous excursion for your trip, definitely spend a day hiking and kayaking the Channel Islands. The Santa Barbara Adventure Company offers several different tours of the islands. Check out the Sea Cave Kayaking package, which takes you from the Ventura Harbor to Scorpion Anchorage for snorkeling, swimming, whale watching and hiking opportunities in a protected marine sanctuary.

Big Sur

Big Sur is the longest trek on our list, requiring a four and half hour drive from Santa Barbara, but trust us, you won’t regret it. For travelers who love the outdoors and camping, this is the ultimate stop. Winding coastal roads will lead you to rugged campsites with spectacular views of turquoise water. While you’re there, enjoy an Ambrosia burger at the Nepenthe Restaurant  and be sure to get a seat out on a terrace overlooking the ocean.

Venice Beach

For the quintessential Southern California day trip, drive down to Venice Beach and spend the day strolling along the boardwalk and people-watching. Less than 2 hours away, Venice has great restaurants, vintage shopping and constant live performances. For the best view, grab a drink at the High Rooftop Lounge and stay to watch the sunset!

Montaña de Oro State Park

Journey to the Montaña de Oro State Park for pristine nature and solitude. Located in Los Osos, just under two hours from Hotel Milo, the park provides all kinds of recreation activities including fishing, geocaching, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping and more. With rocky cliffs, beaches and canyons, you’ll find pristine Californian terrain. Go in the springtime to see the yellow wildflowers that give this spot its name, “Mountain of Gold.”